By Mark Orton
I am tired of being buried with cell phone promos. Commercials, ads, brochures, and mail everywhere I turn, extolling the virtues of what they offer. If you’re like me you’ve ignored them, because let’s face it we get comfortable with what we have. But as I found out comfort can cost you money.
I have been reasonably happy with my cell phone service. There haven’t been a lot of glitches and the service has been dependable. I wouldn’t have given it much thought until the onslaught of packages and offers piqued my interest about what I was really getting for my hard earned dollar.
I dug out my contract which listed the services I was to receive. It turns out my package doesn’t exist anymore but more on that later. I spent some time on their website and there is a package that provides more time and more options at the same price as I was currently paying. Since I have the option to change my plan without penalty once a month I took advantage of it. End of the story or so I thought until a month later while I was checking my bill online making sure the changes had been made I came across the identical package only at a lower price. Another call to customer service and I now have a lower price.
You know as well as I that when a price increase is announced we end up paying more. It would seem reasonable that when there is a price decrease we should be paying less. Not the case in the cell phone world. I was politely told that it’s my responsibility to ensure as the customer service rep said that I’m getting all the benefits.
So here’s what you need to do. Whether you’re using Bell, Rogers, both, or other providers, keep a copy handy of the services you have to compare with what is now being offered. Check on a regular basis. Packages are constantly changing but regardless you can keep your existing plan as long as you want. But that doesn’t always mean it’s the best deal today. (See above) Take the time to go over what you are paying for and determine if you need everything in the package. If not check other options. If your contract is coming due or you are on a monthly plan investigate what the other guy has to offer. But remember many of those offers come with “conditions” so read the fine print. A little homework can save you money. In my case it has amounted to about one hundred dollars a year. That may not seem much. But I’d rather it be in my pocket. And in addition to the savings, I have more of what I want on my cell phone and at a better price. If you’d like a neutral perspective, Industry Canada has a guide to choosing a cell-phone plan.
When it comes to Internet service I have a mid range high speed service that provides 25 gigabytes per month with a reasonable download speed. It provides enough juice to download in excess of three thousand songs or more than seven thousand photos or 20 movies. I have yet to come anywhere close to the maximum allowable limit. I suspect that as my downloading increases I may have to revisit that. Conversely there are likely many who are paying for too much. If e-mailing is your main focus along with a little internet surfing a smaller package could be your best bet at a substantial cost savings over a year.
For others the need for speed is paramount as is a much larger download maximum. There are a number of ISP’s providing unlimited caps and bigger download speeds at prices below those offered by the major players. Again as in cell phone services you need to read and understand the terms and conditions. Some require an upfront payment for the year, some charge a set up fee, others offer free modems while still others have specific requirements for routers and modems should you choose to purchase your own.
A key for me and more important than the price is service. With a growing dependence on Internet it’s imperative that any problems be corrected quickly and efficiently. Search out information on the web about the service being offered. People aren’t shy about voicing their likes and dislikes and those comments provide an invaluable resource. One site that provides a comparison of many services offered across the country along with customer comments is www.canadianisp.com.
Challenging the status quo can prove beneficial when it comes to your cell phone and Internet service.